As I've mentioned before, weeds are everywhere! They're taking over every yard in sight, and while Dead Nettle
may be the most common weed in my area right now, there is another weed coming up that is more hated than any other weed I know.
We call them Dandelions
) are the most common weeds in the northern hemisphere, and they are often killed off for their invasive and stubborn nature. But, with a little more knowledge, you might just start harvesting them instead.
That's right! Those little yellow weeds are incredibly good for you!
As far as I can tell, the first mention of using the Dandelions
as a medicinal herb is from the works of the Arabian physicians of the tenth and eleventh centuries. They called it a wild Endive and named it Taraxcacon
(their common name, Dandelions
, comes from the French dent-de-lion
, meaning “lion’s tooth”- possibly because it's long, white root resembled a tooth).
Since then, cultures all over the world have used Dandelions
as both a medicinal and culinary herb, and we should do the same!
are a rich source of vitamin K (535%), Potassium (218 milligrams), and vitamin A (111%). It also contains generous amounts calories, sodium, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, calcium, iron, and magnesium.
This great combination of nutrients mean that Dandelions
can be used for:
- Reducing water weight (acts like a diuretic and increases urination)
- Promoting liver health (increases the flow of bile)
- Promoting healthy skin (the zinc and magnesium are particularly helpful)
- Controlling blood sugar and cholesterol (the University of Maryland Medical Center found that it balanced blood sugar in diabetic mice, but human trials have yet to begin)
- Boosting your immunity (with its combination of vitamin C and various antioxidants)
- Relieving water retention (diuretic)
- Promoting kidney and gall bladder health (diuretic)
- As an overall detoxifying agent
- Purifying the blood (iron, vitamin K)
- Promoting bone health (calcium and vitamin K)
- Coffee (you read that right! Dandelions roots can be used as a coffee substitute. See the recipe at Whole New Mom)
A tea of the Dandelion
can be made with the flowers, the leaves, or both. Just be absolutely
sure that you harvest them in an area that hasn't been sprayed.
To make Dandelion
tea: take a handful of the yellow flowers and/or the leaves, rinse them and add them to a saucepan. Add water and boil for 5-8 minutes. Strain, add honey, and enjoy!
But, like every herb, Dandelions
can be used in a variety of other ways. They are excellent additions to:
They can also be juiced, sauteed, made into wine, put on a pizza, and used in pretty much any way you can think to use them. For some great Dandelion
recipes, check out The Prairie Homestead
and Food Storage and Survival
Now that you know about the nutritional benefit of our friendly little weed, maybe you'll think twice before grabbing the nearest bottle of RoundUp.
Besides, even if you don't harvest and eat them right away, you can always make wishes on them once they mature!
To learn more about this hardy plant, visit Botanical
, Dandelion Tea
, Wellness Mama
, Dr. Axe
, and Healthline